solar panels become standard

solar panels standard

by Shen Ge

Smaller footprints and greener features ranked at the top of the trends list among a 2017 National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) study published in the Green Multifamily and Single Family Homes 2017 SmartMarket Brief. At least one third of single family and multifamily builders surveyed said that green building is more than 60% of their portfolio. Within this category, nearly 30% of multifamily builders fall into the category of “dedicated” green, i.e. more than 90% of their portfolio is in green building. Within the single family side, this is nearly 20%. By 2022, both single family and multifamily sectors are expected to increase to 50% for people who invest in green.
Increasing energy efficiency continues to be the most common method of improving the performance of a green home, followed by creating a healthy indoor living environment. The report also found that a considerable number of builders are developing net zero homes or plan to build net zero homes in the near future. Among those surveyed, 29 percent of single family home builders have built a net zero home in the past two years, and 44 percent expect to do so in the next two years. Builders see increased customer demand and a competitive advantage as the top two drivers to develop net zero homes.

This report reflects the growing trend in new construction called “solar ready”. At one time, it was common to have subcontractors who specialized in a specific area only. Now, contractors are striving to become more well-rounded and advertise themselves as home performance professionals who specialize in whole-house systems. With environmental awareness and studies revealing the benefits of energy efficiency, building professionals are taking as standard practice the necessity to consider all of the potential of a new home at the outset.
Adrienne Esposito, executive director at Citizens Campaign for the Environment, noted that design changes that accommodate solar arrays are simple to include during the building process and could be difficult and costly to change after construction.
“It is the worst kind of antiquated thinking for any new homes to be constructed that are not solar ready,” said Neal Lewis, the executive director of the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College.

Government Support
More and more municipalities are requiring net zero energy from new residential and commercial construction. In other words, state and local governments are starting to incorporate rooftop solar guidelines into their building codes and adopt the most up-to-date electric and safety codes.
The federal government is also providing financial incentives for homeowners who decide to go solar. The government is also providing a push. In his May 9, 2014 executive order aimed at expanding solar power and energy efficiency in the United States, President Obama applauded the efforts of two dozen homebuilders that have committed to building solar homes, including a private-sector program by 22 firms to build nearly 10,000 solar-equipped houses as part of an effort to advance zero-net-energy housing. The investment tax credit (ITC), also known as the federal solar tax credit, allows residents to deduct 30 percent of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes. The ITC applies to both residential and commercial systems, and there is no cap on its value. Going forward, the tax credit will phase out by 2022.

• 2016 – 2019: The tax credit remains at 30 percent of the cost of the system.
• 2020: Owners of new residential and commercial solar can deduct 26 percent of the cost of the system from their taxes.
• 2021: Owners of new residential and commercial solar can deduct 22 percent of the cost of the system from their taxes.
• 2022 onwards: Owners of new commercial solar energy systems can deduct 10 percent of the cost of the system from their taxes. There is no federal credit for residential solar energy systems.

So to maximize your tax benefit, make sure that you get solar soon!


Interested in more of Shen Ge’s posts on renewable energy and other latest technology trends? Follow his blog at and his Facebook page for his radio show at 


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